Monday, September 15, 2008

Obama's Wall Street Career Fabrication

In 1988, Sen. Joe Biden was forced to drop his presidential bid after he was caught inflating his resume and plagiarizing his speeches. Similarly, those who have bothered to analyze Sen. Barack Obama's biographical claims in his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, have uncovered numerous misrepresentations. As Chicago Sun-Times political reporter Lynn Sweet once remarked of the book, it's hard to tell where the fiction ends and the truth begins. In one chapter of his book, Obama talks about the Wall Street career he gave up after graduating from Columbia University to become a community organizer in Chicago:

Eventually a consulting house to multinational corporations agreed to hire me as a research assistant. Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office and sat at my computer terminal, checking the Reuters machine that blinked bright emerald messages from across the globe. As far as I could tell I was the only black man in the company, a source of shame for me but a source of considerable pride for the company’s secretarial pool.

They treated me like a son, those black ladies; they told me how they expected me to run the company one day…

Nevertheless, as the months passed, I felt the idea of becoming an organizer slipping away from me. The company promoted me to the position of financial writer. I had my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors-see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand-and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve.

Then one day, as I sat down at my computer to write an article on interest-rate swaps, something unexpected happened. Auma called. I had never met this half sister; we had written only intermittently…

[A] few months after Auma called, I turned in my resignation at the consulting firm and began looking in earnest for an organizing job.

Unfortunately for Obama, there is a co-worker who remembers him quite well and describes Obama's work at this so-called "consulting house" somewhat differently. "[A]fter reading his autobiography, I have to say that Barack engages in some serious exaggeration when he describes a job that he held in the mid-1980s," says co-worker Dan Armstrong. "I know because I sat down the hall from him, in the same department, and worked closely with his boss." Armstrong then goes on to identify all the discrepancies in Obama's book:

  • Obama didn't work for a consulting house. "[I]t was a small company that published newsletters on international business. Like most newsletter publishers, it was a bit of a sweatshop. I’m sure we all wished that we were high-priced consultants to multinational corporations. But we also enjoyed coming in at ten, wearing jeans to work, flirting with our co-workers, partying when we stayed late, and bonding over the low salaries and heavy workload."
  • "Barack’s job was to get copy from the country correspondents and edit it so that it fit into a standard outline." Armstrong says Obama was essentially a copy editor, not a business consultant.
  • Obama was not the only black man working for the small company. Armstrong says he and his boss used to join a black father and his son who worked in the mailroom to drink beer. "That’s not the kind of thing that Barack would do," Armstrong said. "Like I said, he was somewhat aloof."
  • Armstrong doesn't recall Obama getting a promotion, but he knows he didn't have his own secretary, a claim he described as laughable. Only the company president had his own secretary. "Barack never left the office, never wore a tie, and had neither reason nor opportunity to interview Japanese financiers or German bond traders," Armstrong said.
  • Summing up Obama's embellishments, Armstrong writes: "All of Barack’s embellishment serves a larger narrative purpose: to retell the story of the Christ’s temptation. The young, idealistic, would-be community organizer gets a nice suit, joins a consulting house, starts hanging out with investment bankers, and barely escapes moving into the big mansion with the white folks. Luckily, an angel calls, awakens his conscience, and helps him choose instead to fight for the people."

Armstrong laments the fact that he was once accused of inflating something on his resume and didn't get a job as a consequence. "But when Barack Obama invents facts in a book ranked No. 8 on the NY Times nonfiction list, it not only fails to be noticed but it helps elevate him into the national political pantheon," Armstrong writes. If Obama would go to such lengths to lie about a meaningless job he had at a small newsletter publisher when he was in his 20s, what else is he lying about? The truth is Obama was a very mediocre student at Columbia. Remarkably, the media has been unable to find a single classmate of Obama's at Columbia who remembers anything about him. Do you really know who Barack Obama is? And why has the media gone to such great lengths to investigate and twist facts surrounding Gov. Sarah Palin's background while totally refusing to take a look at the real Barack Obama?


Chris Worden said...

TONIGHT I heard Sarah Palin say she didn't support the bridge to nowhere. We now KNOW this is false. We ALL know it, and yet she still keeps saying it, which makes me think she's closer to Bush in mentality than we ever imagined. His whole mantra was if you say it enough, they will believe it.

In short, AI, get the log out of your party's own eye first, would you please?

Jason said...

Has Obama issued any statement on the "bridge to nowhere"? He voted for this correct? I'd like to know why he thought it was a wise use of taxpayer money.

legaldiva said...

Well, I've met a couple of folks that went to Harvard Law with him, one of which was on law review with him, and they say he is wonderfully brilliant, likeable guy. From what they say, he was heavily recruited for jobs and the would be expected of the law review editor from the nations number one law school. If I meet someone that went to Columbia in that era, I'll let you know:)

Gary R. Welsh said...

George Stephanopolous graduated one year ahead of Obama at Columbia. He has absolutely no recollection of Obama attending school there at the same time as him.